Guest Post and Friday

Today’s Friday Favorite is from my friend, Adam.  If you like to read or if you own a Kindle, you’ll want to subscribe to Adam’s blog contains great book reviews AND links to free or incredibly cheap books for the Kindle.  Because of Adam, I own a Kindle AND of the 450 books it holds…I only paid for 10 of them. 

Adam was kind enough to write today’s post about reading.  Check it out:

I love to read! I read a lot, I read quickly and I read fairly widely.  But over the past two years since I started my blog ( I have realized that there is something very different from reading for reading’s sake and reading because I wanted to gain wisdom. 

This week I stumbled on Russell Ackoff‘s DIKW model.  Ackoff suggests that we move from Data (simple description) to Information (answers basic questions like who, what, where, when) to Knowledge (information that has been owned and processed so a person can interact with other types of information) and finally to Wisdom (the application of knowledge, life experience to make good decisions).  Data and information are about the accumulation.  Knowledge is about the comparisons.  And wisdom is about the application. 

I realized (without Ackoff’s DIKW language) that often my reading is really just skimming and if I want to learn and gain from it I need to slow down.  Slowing down is hard for me; so about 18 months ago I started intentionally Reading Again.  This is not revolutionary; I have re-read books all my life.  But I have tried to be systematic about it.  I am picking the best books that I read and then read them again in a different format. 

About 1/3 of my reading is audiobooks (I do a lot of fairly mindless data entry for work and this is a great time for audiobooks).  About 1/3 is paper books (primarily books I know I am going to give to someone or books someone has given to me). And the final 1/3 is Kindle formatted ebooks.  So when possible, on a second reading I shift formats.  The biggest change is when I shift between audio and print formats.  But even shifting from kindle to paper, I can feel a slight difference.

More than format issues, reading a book a second (or third or fourth) time encourages you to think again about the ideas and issues so that you can move from accumulation of ideas to a more deeply ingrained wisdom.  And wisdom in Ackoff’s model is all about the action that comes as a result.

I think this is the model that we should use to read scripture.  Looking for areas where scripture can shape us, not just adding bits of information about scripture to our brains.  As a deliberate attempt at changing the way I read, I am working my way through Eugene Peterson’s Message: Solo.  It is a Lectio Divina model (Latin for spiritual reading).  You read the same passage four times.  Initially, just reading it.  The second time you reflect on the same (with the help of some questions).  The third time, you read prayerfully (praying back to God your thoughts or using the passage as a prayer).  The final reading is a contemplation/action reading.  How are you allowing your life to be influenced by the text.  If this sounds interesting, you can do Lectio Divina on your own, but I have found Peterson’s book as good training wheels to help me move into a more deliberate model of reading scripture.

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